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Gondar and the Simien Mountains

57 Comments · Semien Mountains

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In Ethiopia, the most widespread mountain ranges on the highlands are the Simiens, which lie straight north of Gonder and mount to the fourth highest peak in Africa, Ras Dashen (also known as Ras Dejen), whose height is usually given as 4,620m.

Combined with a visit to Ras Dashen:

• The castles and churches of the ancient capital of Gondar
• The rock carved churches of Lalibela
• The island monasteries on Lake Tana

During the rainy season crops grow well on the rich volcanic soils of the highland plateau but roads are very muddy. From September to June the weather is much drier and so the recommended time to visit Ethiopia is most likely between September and Christmas.

The Simien Mountains are really the edge of a huge volcanic plateau and dramatic cliffs drop down to the hot lowland plains to the north. Infrequent volcanic plugs rise out of the plains and provide a challenge to climbers..

A part of the Simien Mountains has been designated a National Park and within this area the remnants of the once magnificent Afro-Alpine moorlands are being protected from the further infringement of cultivation. High altitude vegetation such as:

• the remain fine stands of groundsels
• ericas
• lobelias and other high altitude vegetation are grown in the area

 Bird life is very rich and there are also quite good chances of seeing:

• the rare Walia Ibex and
• the Simien Fox as well as
• the Gelada Baboons

Keywords: Gonder, Ras Dejen, Ras Dashen, Lalibela, Tana, Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboons,

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